How Create a Great Web Resume for Teaching English Abroad
Unlike most job searches, landing a job abroad is usually done via the Internet. Most teaching jobs are advertised on the web and most demand a response via email. This method of job searching, therefore, requires a somewhat modified approach. A web resume is a little different than a paper one, and has many advantages.
By following a few easy steps, it is possible to maximize these advantages and land a job abroad quickly and easily.
Step 1: Resume Structure
Using a word processor, first put together your resume. This resume will be structured differently than one you would use at home. Foreign employers will want to know some personal information that is not usually listed on an American application. They will also ask for a recent photo.
Most employers are not trying to discriminate unfairly. Rather, they need to know this information for logistical purposes. If you are married, for example, they may need to make accommodations for your spouse. Also, most jobs require native English fluency and citizenship from a country where English is the native language. By putting this information at the top of the resume, you make it easy for an employer to see that you meet these basic qualifications.
Therefore, begin the resume with the following information: Name Address, phone number, email address Marital status Country of citizenship Native language
The next section should be "Qualifications". Many job seekers put their educational qualifications after their job experience. However, foreign employers consider educational qualifications very important. Most jobs do not demand experience, but nearly all require the applicant to have a college degree. Therefore, list all degrees and certificates (especially TEFL/TESOL certification), the name of the institution that issued them, and the month and year that they were obtained-- immediately after the personal information section.
After qualifications, list your job experience. Be sure to stress any teaching or training related duties, no matter how small. If you helped orient new employees, list that. If you trained people on the the milkshake machine, list that ("Trained new employees on restaurant machinery.")
Also be sure to list tutoring, volunteer, or travel experience. American and British employers may not be interested in this background information, but a school manager will be. They want to know that you are comfortable being in an unfamiliar culture. They are looking for people who are flexible and adaptable. Sell yourself but assume a less aggressive tone than you would use for an American employer. European and Asian bosses tend to prefer a more toned-down approach. Explain your experience, but don't boast.
Following the "job experience" section, you may wish to relist your educational qualifications, especially those which do not directly relate to the job requirements.
Following that, list your hobbies and skills -- especially those which demonstrate an interest in other cultures or which may have job applicability (computer skills, language ability, etc.). Finally, list three references and their email addresses. Get permission from these people before you list them as references. The best people to use are former bosses and teachers.
Step 2: Photo Hosting
Next, you need a recent photo. This should be a medium close-up of the top half of your body. Dress conservatively for the photo. Men should wear a dress shirt and tie. No matter how you will dress once working, this photo should present a very conservative appearance. Men with long hair should have it pulled back for the photo. Women should wear a dress suit. Be sure to smile for the photo. For many employers in Asia (and elsewhere), its better to look good than to be good! A sloppy photo can kill your chances no matter how good your qualifications are.
Process the photo and have it converted to a JPEG file; use a digital camera or have the photo developer put the picture on a CD.
Next, go to www.flickr.com. Flickr is a web site that hosts pictures for free. Click on "Sign Up Now" and open an account. Once signed up and signed in, click on "Upload Photos". Click on the "browse" button and select the file that contains your JPEG photo. Then click the "Upload" button. Your photo will be uploaded and stored in your Flickr account.
Step 3: Creating the Web Resume
The next step in the process is to open a free web hosting or blog account. Go to the site and sign up for an account. Use your full name as the name of your "blog".
Once the account is open, select "Create a new post". Your first post will be titled: "Why I Want to Work In (Japan/Korea/Turkey/Etc.)". Almost every TESOL employer will ask this question, so its a great idea to answer it up front, on your web site. When answering, stress your interest in the culture and in travel in general. While you may be hoping to save big chunks of money, this is not the place to mention that. Try to convey that you are open, curious, personable, and flexible. If you have a connection with the country (martial arts training, an interest in their films, etc.) mention it. Spell check the entry and then post it.
Your second post will be titled: "Teaching Philosophy". If you are an experienced teacher, explain your approach. Many applicants, however, will not have teaching experience. Don't worry. Most English conversation schools profess to use a "natural approach". Also, most do not require previous teaching experience. They will be impressed, however, if you display a little background knowledge.
Go to sdkrashen.com. This site will give a general overview of the "natural approach" for inexperienced teachers. You don't need to study or memorize the information. Just make yourself familiar with the concepts. Then write a short post about your desire to teach conversational English in a natural and communicative way.
Finally, your third post will be the resume itself. Click "Create a new post", then copy and paste your resume into the text box. Arrange the formatting to create a neat appearance. Put your name at the top in large bold letters.
To really impress, you can add active links to the resume. For example, find the web address for your past employers or universities. Highlight the business' name on (on the resume), then click on the globe/link icon. Enter the web address in the pop up box. The name will become an active link. Potential employers can then click the link and read more about your university or past jobs.
Click "publish post".
Step 4: Add Photo to Web Resume:
Now its time to add your photo to the top of the web resume. Log in to your Flickr account. Choose "Your photos". Next, click on the photo you wish to use. A large version of the photo will appear, with a small menu to the left of it. On the menu, choose "All sizes". Under the Available Sizes menu, choose "small".
A small version of the photo will then pop up. Below it will be two sets of HTML code. Copy the second set of code, the one labeled: "Copy and paste this HTML into your web page".
Next, open your blogger account and select your resume blog. Then click on the "edit" button next to post that contains your resume (it should be the top post). Once the text box with your resume pops up, paste in the HTML code from Flickr (at the top). Then select "Publish post".
The resume will now appear with your photo at the top.
Step 5: Respond to Job Ads
The final step is to respond to job ads found at www.daveseslcafe.com, www.tesall.com or other sites. By creating a web resume complete with photo and two short essays, you are making the employer's job much easier (and yourself much more appealing).
When answering ads, it is best to be brief and direct. The school will receive a massive number of replies. Make yours easy to read:
- Use a clear Subject Line such as "Job Opening" or "Teaching Position"
- Mention the job's criteria and directly state that you meet all of them. For example, "I meet all of your required qualifications: I am a native English speaker from the United States and have a Bachelors degree from the University of Georgia".
- Mention that your photo and additional information is available on your web site and include a link. For example: "A recent photo, resume, and references are available at www.JohnDoe.com"
- Paste a copy of your resume at the end of the email, as inline text.
By following these steps, you will set yourself apart from the horde of responses that each employer receives.